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General Information for Groups and Group Leaders

Organising Your Visit

Summer log circle. Photographer Helen HowesCareful planning is vital to the success of your visit. A prior visit is highly recommended so that you are aware of the site, what you want to see, meet with forest staff and check out routes. Should this not be possible, please contact the Ranger by email or telephone prior to your visit to discuss requirements.

Party Size

The party should be broken down into small groups with a leader responsible for each group. We advise a maximum leader to pupil ratio of 1:8, although group leaders should also be aware of the requirements of their own LEA or regulatory body.

Leaders Responsibility

Leaders should be aware that they are responsible for the behaviour of the group at all times, whether it is a self-led or ranger-led visit. Leaders may be required to take a participatory role on led visits.

Additional Permissions

An additional permit may be required for specialist activities or field studies; contact Ranger staff for advice.


The safety of visiting groups is the responsibility of the group leader and each group should carry a first aid kit.

  • Please advise The Forestry Commission of any accidents immediately, regardless of whether assistance is required.
  • Leaders should be aware that ticks can be found in the forest (as in all woodland, moorland and grassy areas) and it is advised that a check is carried out after the visit to ensure that no ticks have attached themselves to the body. Should you require further information, please contact the ranger directly.
  • The forest is a working environment; please observe any restrictions, warnings or temporary closure notices. On arrival, check with the Visitor Centre about any areas of the forest you need to avoid.


After your visit please take a few minutes to complete our evaluation and diversity forms.  Your feedback is very important to us and will be used to improve our programmes in the future.

Ranger-led sessions

The key features of our Ranger led Sessions are:

  • Half Day Programme
  • Depending on Ranger availability, a half day session lasts 2½ hours.
  • There is a maximum group size of 30 and we advise a leader to pupil ratio of 1:8.
  • Approximate times: Morning: 10– 12.30 Afternoon: 1.30- 4.00
  • All sessions include an introduction to ‘Multi-purpose Forestry’ and ‘Forest Habitats.’
  • For large groups or very young children It is possible to run two 1 ¼ hr sessions instead of the full session.

Self-Guided Visits

Camouflage learning. Photographer Helen HowesOur forests have much to offer visiting groups, with numerous waymarked trails, orienteering courses, Go Ape high ropes course and at Whinlatter and Grizedale and adventure playground. . Guide maps of the forest parks can  be purchased in the Visitor Centre , usually for  a cost of around £2.00

For more information please visit the homepage for either Whinlatter near Keswick or Grizedale near Ambleside

Items to bring

Please ensure that group members are adequately clothed for the conditions. Due to unpredictable weather and terrain we recommend

  • warm and waterproof clothing,
  • stout footwear
  • hats/gloves as necessary throughout the year.
  • long trousers are advisable, even in summer, as many activities could be "off the beaten track".
  • best uniform/clothing is not appropriate for the forest.
  • sunscreen and insect repellent in the summer
  • access to a drink and snack, lunch boxes can be left in the classroom, if it has been booked

Please note that for activities led by The Forestry Commission, participation may be refused on the grounds of inappropriate clothing/footwear.

What's of interest

We can be very busy during the summer months. It is extremely important that you book your visit well in advance; bookings can only be confirmed once payment has been received in full.

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.